Discover 12 of Tampa Best Natural Springs!

BBOObSearching for the top springs close to Tampa? You’ve come to the right location, which is great!

Perhaps Disneyland, “the most enchanting place on Earth.” Or fantastic beaches like those on Sanibel Island come to mind when you think of Florida.

Don’t get me wrong, these traditional Florida attractions are enjoyable. But you must visit Florida’s breathtaking natural springs if you truly want to experience the state. Without viewing a cenote, it would be like traveling to Mexico!

The state of Florida is home to approximately 700 springs, all of which are a part of a vast subterranean aquifer that pumps gallons of water into springs all around the state.

Interesting stuff! Even though these springs are always 72 degrees, the ideal time to come is undoubtedly summer when visitors can escape the sweltering Florida heat.

However, since manatees move to Florida in the winter to warm their bodies in the springs, winter is the best season to visit the springs if you want to view them.

In addition to offering swimming opportunities, the springs are a wonderful destination for family outings.

Every spring is distinct from the one before it; some offer fantastic hikes, kayaking, and other water sports.

Enjoy a barbecue, a picnic, go tubing, and maybe even see some of Florida’s local animals, including manatees or maybe a gator!

There are natural springs in Tampa, which is not very surprising, but there are also plenty within an hour or two’s drive of Tampa.

So, if you’re searching for a fantastic day trip from Tampa, be sure to check off seeing these stunning springs nearby. They rank among the Sunshine State’s best undiscovered jewels!

Discover 12 of Tampa’s Best Natural Springs!

Alexander Springs

2 hours to get there from Tampa

We greatly enjoyed Alexander Springs, which is in the Ocala National Forest and not far from Tampa. It was the first spring we ever visited in Florida.

Even though I would admit that I liked some of the other springs, such as Ginnie Springs, this was still a pretty wonderful spring to see, especially if you are in the region visiting other springs.

Divers will find this spring to be one of the most alluring because it is the only location in the Ocala National Forest where scuba diving is allowed.

Although you can swim in this spring, I would recommend that kayaking or canoeing are preferable. A couple alligators that I did spot in the spring (away from people) discouraged me a little from swimming.

This state park also offers trails and a variety of wildlife to explore. In this State Park, we encountered some of the friendliest squirrels I have ever met; they will even climb up your thigh.

There are Florida Black Bears in this State Park, as stated on the walking trails. Call me naive, but I wanted to see one—but only from afar! not us, though.

The park’s day use fee is $6 per person.

Three Sisters Springs

90 minutes to drive from Tampa, Florida

In Florida’s Crystal River, 90 minutes’ journey north of Tampa Bay, is where you’ll find Three Sisters Springs. Undoubtedly one of the stunning springs close to Tampa.

We recently swam with manatees here in Florida, and we’d strongly suggest the experience. This is also one of the greatest spots to do so.

The greatest time to visit the spring if you want to swim with or view manatees is during the winter, known as “manatee season,” when the animals congregate to enjoy the spring’s comfortable 72°F temperature.

All year long, Three Sisters Spring is unquestionably a terrific location. It is a portion of a larger group of springs that run along to the Crystal River on a natural inlet on the eastside of Kings Bay.

Three Sisters Spring is made up of three freshwater lobes or springs that have been given the names “Pretty Sister,” “Deep Sister,” and “Little Sister.”

In the spring, you can go snorkeling as part of a manatee trip. The manatee tours are incredibly educational and reasonably priced for what they are. This is the tour that we suggest.

The Three Sisters Springs are a terrific option if you’re searching for a spring where you can go snorkeling since the spring’s incredible visibility is ideal for spotting manatees and for watching the water bubble up from the three springs, which we haven’t seen in any other spring.

You can go kayaking or enjoy a picturesque ride on a glass-bottom boat in addition to snorkeling or seeing manatees.

Depending on whether you go this spring in the winter or the summer, there are varying prices. Adults pay $12.50 in the summer and $20 in the winter. We advise taking a tour that includes this cost when visiting.

Devil’s Den

2 hours to get there from Tampa

Want to visit cave springs without going underground? Yes, exactly! You should go to Devil’s Den, which is located nearby Ocala to the north.

Being two hours north of Tampa, it is undoubtedly one of the most unusual springs to see in Florida.

This spring is interesting since it is a Pleistocene-era prehistoric spring in a cave, rather than just a cave spring (although I would be content with that).

This spring is interesting since it is a Pleistocene-era prehistoric spring in a cave, rather than just a cave spring (although I would be content with that).

If you’d rather stay above ground, it’s also a good area to go snorkeling.

Even though it is one of the more expensive springs to visit, at $15 per person from Monday to Friday and $20 on the weekend for snorkelers, it won’t break the bank. Divers pay $38, though.

A must-see destination in Florida that is really distinctive.

Wekiwa Springs

1 hour 30 minutes to drive from Tampa

Want to drive very little further and hit two springs? The best option is Wekiwa Springs, which is near toKelly Park’s Rock Springs (around 20 mins away).

In close proximity to Orlando is yet another spring. It is frequently regarded as the oldest tourist destination in Orange County.

This is an excellent state park to visit if you love hiking because there are wonderful paths to enjoy that can be reached on foot, by bike, or even on horseback, which is unusual for a spring.

If you have a horse, you can camp with it and use the Big Fork center to access several trails. Though primarily for floating in the “pool,” some prefer to bring their flotation devices when they come here to swim.

As the springs only go down around four feet, it’s a good spot to bring youngsters.

There are also more than 60 roomy campsites available at the springs where you can tent. Each campsite has a fire ring, an electricity hookup, and water. Numerous picnic tables are also accessible.

Make sure to dispose of food properly if you decide to camp here because the Florida black bear is a resident.

Camp Cozy, Otter Camp, and Big Buck Camp are only accessible by water, therefore you must kayak to camp there if you’re looking for a more challenging camping experience.

The Springs entrance fee is $6 per car.

Rock Springs at Kelly Park

Driving time from Tampa is exactly 1 hour 37 minutes.

While we probably say that about every spring we mention, Kelly Park Rock Springs is unquestionably one of our favorites to visit in Florida. This spring is particularly wonderful if you want to go tubing.

It is “cool” in more than one sense because, at 68 degrees, it is one of Florida’s coolest springs, attracting a large crowd on sweltering summer days.

Numerous Orlando residents visit because of its proximity to the city—it is regarded as one of the best springs nearby—and the fact that it is only 1 hour and 37 minutes by car from Tampa.

Returning to the subject of crowds, if you want to visit this park during the summer, be ready to leave early. There were already 100 automobiles there when we got there at 8am.

The lazy tube run, which is a lot of fun, is the springs’ most well-liked pastime. Although there are places to rent tubes close by, we advise carrying your own tube.

This was a common one. You must fill your tubes with air before visiting the State Park because there isn’t an air pump there.

Aside from tubing, which is, in my opinion, the highlight, the state park has wonderful walking paths, a number of picnic and barbecue areas, and a playground for kids.

Many folks were having family picnics when we arrived.

The ideal substitute for going to Orlando’s theme parks. It is also quite inexpensive to travel there; we couldn’t believe how little it cost—only $3 per car! (up to 2 passengers).

If you like, you can camp at the State Park, so it could be a good idea to arrive early.

Gilchrist Blue Springs

From Tampa, it takes two and a half hours to get there.

A really wonderful spring to visit is Gilchrist Blue Springs, which is two and a half hours north of Tampa and one and a half hours from Gainesville.

Contrast this with Blue Spring, which is fantastic for tubing in the summer and manatee viewing in the winter.

Gilchrist is a really wonderful location to swim, and the springs have a tonne of underwater life to observe, including freshwater fish and turtles, if you prefer to snorkel.

Since Ginnie Springs is also on the Sante Fe River and only ten minutes away, you might wish to visit both of them on the same day if you want to kill two birds with one stone.

The State park offers a variety of natural paths in addition to swimming. If you enjoy geocaching, visit this park since it is rather popular here.

Kayaking and canoeing are two enjoyable water sports that may be done in the park.

It is inexpensive to access the park because we are back at a State-owned location; it costs only $6 per vehicle.

Ginnie Springs

2 hours 15 minutes to get there from Tampa

The lovely Ginnie Springs, a veritable paradise along the Sante Fe River, is another incredible spring worth visiting and is just two hours from Tampa.

Ginnie Springs, in my opinion, features Florida’s best tube run. The fact that alcohol is permitted on this spring’s sole tube run adds to its specialness and uniqueness.

Which, if you don’t mind a few loud college students lingering around, is an enjoyable experience. It seems to create a festive environment.

Along with the seven natural springs that are found in Ginnie, it is also a fantastic location for snorkelers and divers to visit.

Due to the fact that Ginnie Springs is a privately owned spring, alcohol is permitted there.

Because you can reach the springs without restriction before the day visitors arrive, it’s a fantastic area to camp. The facilities, including the restrooms and showers, aren’t the cleanest I’ve seen, though.

You can engage in a variety of different sports at the springs, such as kayaking and canoeing, besides swimming and tubing (which can be hired there).

If you go with a group of friends, you can also use the sand volleyball courts.

Ginnie Springs, which is privately owned and costs $20 in peak season and $15 off season, is one of the priciest springs to visit.

If you ask me, that’s still a fairly decent deal for such incredible beauty. Bring your camera with you; the spring is gorgeous to photograph!

Rainbow Springs

90 minutes to drive from Tampa

Rainbow Springs is undoubtedly one of the nicest springs close to Tampa and is only 90 minutes away. We consider it to be one of Florida’s most beautiful springs, not only the one close to Tampa.

It’s a terrific site to visit if you enjoy snorkeling and want to view some of Florida’s amazing wildlife, such as turtles and fish. There is a lot of aquatic vegetation in the area, which attracts turtles.

Keep an eye out because occasionally individuals discover fossils of mastodons and mammoths.

One of Florida’s oldest and busiest commercial springs, it even has a longer history than that if you enjoy a little history.

Native Floridians used to go to the springs for their natural medicinal properties. People relied on the phosphate mining occupations near the springs for employment a little while ago.

Rainbow Springs

After then, it was transformed into a tourist park in the 1960s, complete with a full zoo. The springs include antique photographs so you can see what life was like in the past.

Even some historical relics, such as the remains of former animal cages, are still visible in and around the springs.

Today, the park is more conducive to outdoor recreation with a focus on swimming, snorkeling, and water sports (kayaking, paddle boarding).

At the State Park, there are also fantastic hiking trails to enjoy, including some really lovely man-made waterfalls.

A fantastic tub run that lasts around two hours is available during the summer at Rainbow Springs.

Even though this stops running in the winter (4 hours long, not for the faint of heart!) there is still a longer run accessible. Our thorough guide to Rainbow Springs contains more information on it.

As one of the least expensive springs to visit close to Tampa, this one is only $2 to enter. What a deal!

Silver Glen Springs

Driving time? 90 minutes from Tampa

Another fantastic spring to visit near Tampa is The Silver Glen Springs, which should not be mistaken with Silver Springs (I know, there are so many similar names).

The springs are an excellent place for swimming to beat the Florida heat, but divers must visit another spring because scuba diving is not permitted there.

It is also a great location for snorkeling because there is a wide variety of freshwater and saltwater fish to observe underwater. In order to warm up, manatees are known to travel to the spring during the winter..

The fact that the springs are a significant archaeological site is an intriguing aspect of them. If you decide to go snorkeling, you might be fortunate enough to discover a fossilized snail shell or other artifacts underwater.

If you’d rather stay on dry land, you may hire a kayak or a canoe as well.

On weekdays, admission is $7 per person, and on weekends, it is $10 per person.

Weeki Wachee

Travel time? Tampa is less than an hour away.

You don’t have the same drive? No doubt, Weeki Wachee Springs, which are the nearest to Tampa Bay and only a little under an hour away, are the nicest springs around for you.

This is a nice spring to visit if you are a local with kids or if you are traveling with kids because they frequently put on mermaid shows which the small ones seem to just love.

They take place in a submerged 400-seat Mermaid Theater, which is very special to Florida’s springs — I haven’t found another spring that offers this show!

Additionally, there will be other entertainment at the spring, such as park ranger-hosted wildlife encounter displays (Again, the kids adore this because they get a close-up look at gators, snakes, and turtles.)

Moreover, entertaining riverboat tours. On the website, you can find out when these shows are airing.

Are you still uninterested? Additionally, you can go to Buccaneer’s Bay near the springs, which has a swimming area, a white peach, and water slides.

The riverboat tours at the springs

The riverboat tours at the springs are a must-do since they give a fantastic tour of Florida’s wildlife, vegetation, and fauna.

The wonderful thing is that you can also use kayaks, canoes, and paddle boards to explore the springs if you want a DIY adventure.

Older people particularly enjoy the river tour at Silver Springs, which is fantastic for less athletic individuals and makes it feasible for all ages to experience the springs, which is not often the case. a fantastic location to take the grandparents!

The springs also have one of the deepest networks of freshwater caves in the United States, so you may go diving there. Although it is quite common among divers, the prospect of diving in a cave terrifies me.

Due to the fact that two divers have perished while diving the springs, we would only advise doing so if you are an experienced diver.

We wholeheartedly endorse a trip to this 538-acre park, not just for the fun it provides but also for its breathtaking beauty. In Florida, it is frequently chosen as a wedding destination because it is so stunning.

Entry is $13 for adults and $8 for children.

Ichetucknee Springs

2 hours 30 minutes to get there from Tampa

People frequently ask themselves whether Ichetucknee Springs or Ginnie Springs are better because Ichetucknee is another well-liked Florida tubing destination.

Since there are several locations where you can enter the springs, you can discover additional information about tubing here.

While you may rent tubes for $8 for a single or $12 for a double, you can also bring your own tube.

The chance to observe Florida’s unique wildlife is another reason why tourists are coming this spring in particular.

As you travel down the tube, you frequently have the chance to observe otters, gar, ducks, beavers, and the occasional manatee or two.

This spring is a wonderful area to canoe or kayak if you’d rather not get wet because the water has a gentle current that lessens the effort required (kayaking can be brutal on your arms!).

The Blue Hole Trail, Blue Hole Spring Trail, and Trestle Point Trail are the three most well-liked hikes in the park, which also offers excellent hiking opportunities.

With a $6 entrance fee, it is a very reasonable spring to visit.

Juniper Springs

2 hours to get there from Tampa

This time, we appreciated Juniper Springs more for the breathtakingly beautiful walks one can take in this magnificent State Park than for the swimming.

Despite being two hours’ journey from Tampa, it is one of the nicest springs nearby.

Even though I wouldn’t say swimming is the ideal activity, Juniper Springs offers a nice place to cool off during the warmer months. However, this park doesn’t have a tube run, which is obviously a shame..

The excursions through the Ocala National Forest make up for that in terms of pure natural splendor.

The juniper springs kayak run is one of the most well-liked activities at Juniper Springs. However, because it takes 4 hours to complete, it is not for the faint of heart.

Because there are so many rapids and congested areas throughout the route, it’s not generally recommended for novice kayakers.

I’m not sure I’m too interested in kayaking because kayakers have been known to capsize and alligators are on the prowl But if you are, you can rent a canoe or kayak for $42.

One of the most well-liked campgrounds in the Ocala National Forest is available for camping, and it costs $22 per night. There is no electricity at the campsites or in the restrooms, making it a basic camping experience.

The park entry fee for 2 individuals is $11.

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kizz daniel
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